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Gender, politics & NZ LP conference 2012

Written By: - Date published: 10:38 am, November 22nd, 2012 - 140 comments
Categories: employment, equality, feminism, greens, labour, Left, mana, poverty, sexism, workers' rights - Tags:

The Labour Party conference at the weekend gave serious attention to crucial issues of gender and politics.  In a speech, Judy McGregor provided some good suggestions for a new approach.  Her focus was on two  main areas: proportion of women MPs in the party and equal pay.  However, her speech fell short in scope and depth.  It also demonstrated the same shortcomings that I see throughout the conference: a strong focus on employment and change within the existing framework.  There was a lower priority given to unpaid wirk in the home and community; work done by a large proportion of women.

McGregor focused on two aspects of gender and politics that are in need of urgent attention, and which are covered in remits considered at the conference.  The representation of women in the House, and equal pay have gone backwards since NAct have been in government.  McGregor presented statistics to show that the proportion on women MPs has declined, while the gender pay gap is now the biggest it has been for 10 years.

McGregor argued that there is everything for the Labour Party to gain from working towards gender equality.  She pointed out that, while NZ doesn’t have a clear gender voting pattern, we can learn from the recent US election. There was an 18% positive swing of female voters for Obama. McGregor’s proposed new approach to MP equality includes:

  • a formal commitment to 50% MPs
  • equal gender quotas on committees selecting candiates for the party list and electorates
  • mentoring by current women MPs – to mentor at least 6 possible women MP candidates

This is great as far as it goes, but it fails to deal with the underlying framework that restricts women. Parliamentary politics is still carried out within a masculine framework.  Women in positions of power have to represent themselves as being tough, but not so masculine as to upset conventional gender expectations.

This was exposed when McGregor described the mentoring proposal as a “stiletto camp” in contrast to a boot camp.  My immediate response to that was – nah; yeah; nah.  This draws on an acceptable femme fatale image of a powerful, but sexualised, woman operating in a restrictive masculine space.  It doesn’t challenge the masculine rules of play, but accommodates to it.

Unfortunately those masculine rules of combative play are everywhere to be seen in Question Time and MSM political coverage.  The current Labour Party leadership is strongly operating within these terms of engagement: it can be seen in the way they have “dealt to” the LP members pushing for democratic change, and to Cunliffe’s leadership ambitions.  It can be seen in Shearer’s tough guy plays, in his attempt to stamp his authority on the caucus and membership, over the last week.

For women to again be among the leading players in the Labour Party, this style of politics needs to change, not just the gender quotas. Generally speaking, a significant proportion of women prefer negotiation, networking and 2-way communication over the stamping of authority from above.

In focusing on the pay gap, McGregor focused on the paid workforce.  While this is in crucial need of attention, she also neglected the underlying framework, in which women are still preferred in caring roles, paid and unpaid, and which are given low status by society.  McGregor drew on her undercover experience, working in age care facilities. This low paid work is largely done by women for less than $14-15 per hour.  Nurses create a positive caring culture, but earn less than employees with similar qualifications, doing similar work in other hospitals.  McGregor described it as a “form of modern day slavery”.

McGregor said a report on age care work got a positive reception by a lot of potential voters, including 40,00 carers.  Pay parity for carers is a fundamental human right and is affordable, costing about 1% of the total health budget over 3 yrs. McGregor implicitly compared Labour’s worker-friendly approach with that of the Key government, when she said:

  Surely we don’t need to ask Warner Brothers for permission on this one.

McGregor encouraged the Labour Party to promote itself as THE party to bring possible change for women and their families.  A worthy ambition.  However, at the moment the Green Party are well ahead of them on this.  50% of their women are MPs, and they, along with Mana have led the campaigns against poverty. They have not just focused on the paid workforce, but have actively campaigned for all low income households – beneficiaries and the employed.  They haven’t set this merely as a goal, but MPs like Hone Harawira and Metiria Turei have been out on the streets campaigning along side those with least power.

Unfortunately, in spite of the gender equality in numbers, The Greens have also been sucked into the masculine framework strengthened by NAct and the MSM: Russel Norman is now being portrayed as the de facto leader of the Party, while much of the important leg work is being done by women MPs.

It is the underlying macho, game-playing culture of political engagement that needs changing, along with the more obvious need for gender equality.  The changes required include the need for more democratic processes of political engagement, genuine communication and negotiations.  This should be linked with the need for wider cultural change, in which paid and unpaid caring work is given far more status.

140 comments on “Gender, politics & NZ LP conference 2012”

  1. lprent 1

    Definitely need you at the next conference..

    • karol 1.1

      Thanks, Lynn.  Difficult to cover everything clearly and succinctly – I guess at conferences, as well as covering the whole of this McGregor vid in one post.  

      I was hoping to comment on McGregor’s statements about social and new media – but, on reflection, that bit wasn’t really about gender, but the current environment for political communication and engagement.  So I will try to get to it in another post next week.

  2. King Kong 2

    I think birds get a pretty fair crack of the whip these days. How should we resolve disputes in a femine way? A knit off?

    • Dr Terry 2.1

      Cobra as offensive as ever! He might one day learn how to spell “feminine”. Nice guy (like Shearer?)

  3. r0b 3

    Great post, and (once again) great to have you aboard.

    • karol 3.1

      Thanks r0b.  Enjoying being here.

      • seeker 3.1.1

        Excellent post Karol,. Elevated thinking, just what was needed after the last few days. Especially the final paragraph, particularly:

        “This should be linked with the need for wider cultural change, in which paid and unpaid caring work is given far more status.”

        Brilliant. Forward thinking that could actually lead us to a real ‘brighter future’. Thank you.

  4. Colonial Viper 4

    Bear in mind that New Zealanders have little problem with voting into power a political party which only has 30% women in the top 10 positions, and with zero women in the top 3 or 4 spots.

    How do I know this? They did it with National in both 2008 and 2011.

  5. Macro 5

    Well said!

    “Unfortunately, in spite of the gender equality in numbers, The Greens have also been sucked into the masculine framework strengthened by NAct and the MSM: Russel Norman is now being portrayed as the de facto leader of the Party, while much of the important leg work is being done by women MPs.”

    Yes I’ve noticed this too. Perhaps the relative inexperience of Meteria compared to Jeanette (Russel had time with Jeanette to “learn the ropes” so to speak.), or the portfolios for which she is the spokesperson; just education holding any “significant” prominence in the msm. (That is not a judgmental assertion by me I believe that Children’s Issues and Women’s Issues are equally if not more important at this time – they just receive little coverage by the msm.)

    • Fortran 5.1

      Metiria Turei has not got the charm of Russel.
      She stumbles sometimes in her former strong left wing Mcgillicuddy Party attitude
      She has to learn the slowly slowly catchee monkey like Russel does.

      • Dr Terry 5.1.1

        Fortran – you sure could do with some lessons in accurately discerning human nature. Metiria shows flair, insight, forward thinking, compassion and much more. She is rightly CO-LEADER, you had best be very clear about that. Russell has his strengths, while Metiria certainly possesses her own particular strengths and mana. One day, with luck, you might actually get to know her!

        • seeker 5.1.1.1

          very +1

        • karol 5.1.1.2

          Absolutely agree, Dr T.  I recall a time when Turei had the most positive media image, and Norman was seen as a bit of a silly wimp.  Remember him with the Tibetan flag outside parliament?  I also remember in the last election that had the 2 Green co-leaders together in a campaign vid.  Metiria came across really well, while Russel seemed awkward and bland.

          Norman has been getting more press coverage because the NAct government has made the central battlefield the economy.  All their bennie-bashing stuff just services that.  So the opposition is drawn into attacking their figures.  Norman has a very good grasp of that.

          Also, Question Time is a pretty macho and/or middle-class battlefield.  Norman is not very butch or aggressive, but his grasp of economics conforms to a certain kind of masculinity.  And he can argue very well in a formal setting.

          Turei is a bit more Street, and shows most of her personality in a less formal an more idiosyncratic way.  She has given some excellent speeches in the House on poverty.

          I wish there were more MPs from low income backgrounds, who have done the hard activist yards, and are outside the current middle-class, managerialist style of politicians.  The culture of parliament would be the better for it.

          • David H 5.1.1.2.1

            Great Post Karol.

            “I wish there were more MPs from low income backgrounds, who have done the hard activist yards, and are outside the current middle-class, managerialist style of politicians. The culture of parliament would be the better for it.”

            As long as they are not the Paula Bennett type. Been there, done that now to ruin it for everyone else.

            Also I agree about women in politics and apart from Helen there hasn’t been another woman in the top 3 of any of the main parties. I also agree that Turei is really not “house” happy but Unlike key and co who seem to take Thursdays off regularly, at least she’s there every day, and yes she has given some excellent speeches on poverty. Also what happened to Julie Anne Genter?? She was ripping Brownlee a new one and then she just stopped. Why? Why let him off the hook ? She had him squirming.

        • Indeed. I’d go so far as to say that Metiria would be my preference for Deputy PM if one of the co-leaders should be offered that position.

        • Vicky32 5.1.1.4

          Metiria shows flair, insight, forward thinking, compassion and much more

          Really? Not that I have noticed… I hope you weren’t going for a statement of fact there?
          ‘nother Shearer-and-Labour bashing thread? Bored already.
          Hey. pro-tip – if youse guys are as left as you claim to be, a few criticisms of NACT would make you all seem a wee bit more credible.

          • karol 5.1.1.4.1

            Vicky, this post was a critical analysis of a Labour Party speech.  I praised some aspects of it and criticised others. 

            I have done many posts criticising NAct: here and here, for instance. And I often comment criticising Key and NAct. 

            Yes I am more pro-Green, but I also comment in favour of Labour policies and activities that I like: e.g. here, and here.  The reason I tend to favour the Greens more often is because they currently meet more of my left wing values than Labour.

            And in praising and criticising both Labour and the Greens, I usually support it with reasons and evidence.

            In contrast, you never have anything good to say about the Greens, and Labour can do no wrong – and often, as in your comment above, you give no reasons – usually just attempt to smear the Greens as not being left wing.  

            And you talk credibility?  Really? 

      • Saarbo 5.1.2

        John Key is a baby boomer pakeha, when he refers to Russell Norman as Leader of greens he is not only being sexist but also racist. He is also a wanker.

        I wouldn’t have associated Russell Norman with the word “charm”, more aloof. But he is a very clear and smart communicator (Im trying not to think about David Shearer explaining costings on new housing policy on last nights TV3 news, (sinking feeling)) . 

        Metiria has been outstanding on The Native Affairs panels, very well respected within Maori (Surveyed 3rd most trusted Maori MP i think on Native Affairs). A refreshing and friendly style of communicating.

         I haven’t witnessed more Russell as Leader than Metiria, I would have thought the other way around. Perhaps Greens are doing a good job running Co Leader set up then.

        Great article Carol!!!

        • felix 5.1.2.1

          Russel seems to be doing most of the MSM stuff. Don’t know why, Meteria is a bloody good communicator.

          • King Kong 5.1.2.1.1

            Saw Meteria Turei in the street the other day and it may just be that the reason she doesn’t do any studio interviews is that she has got so fat she can’t get up the stairs.

            She has certainly been making use of her Bellamy’s discount card and in the process has become clinically obese. Not a good look for a party who’s mantra is “greed isn’t good”.

  6. alwyn 6

    There was one (trivial I know) part of this that surprised me.
    You say, of the Green Party that “50% of their women are MPs”. I find it hard to believe there are only a dozen or so women in the Green Party.
    You have also said that Russel Norman is being portrayed as the de facto leader of the Green Party.
    The article you reference shows that John Key was not actually talking about the Green Party at all. The words “Green Party” are in parentheses, indicating that the have been added by the reporter. What John Key is suggesting is that Norman is the most effective opposition MP at the present time. Personally I think that that is a fair statement. He is, to the public, the most effective opposition MP, and the most often quoted one. It doesn’t matter whether he is even a party leader.

    • karol 6.1

      I disagree, alwyn.  It’s not directly stated, but the context is this:

      “I always treat whoever the leader of the opposition is with respect … but the simple bottom line is if you go and have a party which is going to be internally consumed, which will be the case whoever wins, in the end it’s a really bad news story for Labour. ”

      The only winner out of this will be [Greens leader] Russel Norman.”

      Mr Key wouldn’t express a preference for either leadership contender, saying “either way, whoever’s left standing is going to have a warring faction buried deep within their own party”.

      It is implied that Key is referring to the Green Party leader because the context is in talking about the opposition leader. That’s the reason why the author added Green Party – but, in doing so, reinforced the notion of Norman being the main party leader.  This is how it works – by the on-going reinforcement and attention given to Norman.

      Also, Norman’s perceived effectiveness ranking has a lot to do with the way he is given more attention by the MSM and other commentators.  Part of this has to do with the high status given to economics over social policy issues.  And many Green MPs have been doing very well in that area.

      If anyone has been the most effective in taking it to government ministers, it’s Julie Anne Genter.   But Turei has also been doing excellent work with less media attention.

      • David H 6.1.1

        I must admit I have really enjoyed Julie Anne taking it to Gerry ‘the Hutt’ Brownlee. he has more than once looked all at sea. But then it just stopped, it was as if someone said “thats enough, next topic” and that was the strange bit, she had Brownlee shaking so much, they had to check the building for earthquake strength.

  7. Rogue Trooper 7

    great writing karol; who’s afraid of Virginia Woolf

  8. Uturn 8

    Listening to that youtube speech was frustrating, not because of the ideas, but how unnecessarily submissive – and at one point openly offensive – they were in presentation. Clearly, Labour is not a “women friendly” organisation. I wonder what the original draft looked like.

    Men need to support women in their rise to equality and voluntarily give up some of the structures that have unbalanced the male/female relationship and our world. Easy to say, and quite scary for both parties in reality, no matter where you are on the scale. If we don’t want to see another hundred years of speeches couched in masculine terms like the one in the above article, men need to act. Indirectly forcing women to take what they want is forcing them to act like men. Indirectly forcing women to check their status, defined by the environment, isn’t an act in good faith.

  9. BM 9

    This type of thinking pisses of the majority of women(middle aged hard core feminists not included).

    People should be picked on ability not because of their gender, if only 30% of women are chosen to be MPs for what ever party, they’ve got their because they’re the best not because of some bull shit quota system.

    Having discussed this with numerous woman, they really fire about been given a free ride because of their gender, most women want to earn their position.

    A quota system would cast doubt on the abilities of all female MPs

    • Uturn 9.1

      Meritocracy is a masculine idea. It leads directly to authoritarian structures. Women may have picked it up as any person will absorb culture subconsciously. No easy reconciliation of that argument.

      • BM 9.1.1

        Meritocracy is a masculine idea. It leads directly to authoritarian structures.

        How can having people picked on merit and talent be considered a bad thing.
        This is a good thing, not a bad thing.

        Less drek taking up space the better.

        • Bastables 9.1.1.1

          Meritocracy was originally a description of the negative outcomes on Western society.
          Please read The rise of the meritocracy, 1870-2033: An essay on education and inequality M.Young 1958.

          Meritocracy was and is dressing up inequality with a veener of “I did it my way.”

        • Uturn 9.1.1.2

          Meritocracy divides what is and what isn’t based on a transient idea of what is good or best. It takes specific fallible traits and elevates them to unassailable virtues. It divides the ruled from the ruler, invites ivory tower perspectives and encourages parentalism of mature adults. It elevates logic and absolutes where there are none possible and then returns the wrong answers. An as you point out in your final line, promotes killing. It’s a narrow way to see the world.

          Simply hiring the best of the best is the fastest way to the kind of mayhem that hiring just anyone would also provide. Deciding how many of anything to allow in an equal equation is a tough question. Static Equality, in itself, an impossibility while the clock is still running. In my opinion, the closest coherent model we could reference would be a maori world view. Though some of their ideas would also discriminate against others. Even scientists run a control. Maybe political arrangements need to include a control person/s and acknowledge their importance despite their intellectual “inferiority”.

          • Bill 9.1.1.2.1

            Was there not a study done or an experiment run (read of somewhere fairly recently) where they evaluated choosing on merit against random selection and found that selection on merit was no better than random selection?

            Sorry. My memory is very hazy on it or I’d provide some background/details.

          • Jimmy Page's Sunburst Les Paul 9.1.1.2.2

            You misunderstood his point. He didn’t use the “M” word to start with; you did.

            It’s fallacious to infer from the mundane claim that you should always employ the best candidate for a particular job, to the claim that there is some “factor X” by which we should rank all and every job candidate, ignoring the fact that there is almost always a division of specialisations and considerations of team chemistry and things like that. In other words, there is no such thing as “general merit” or even “general political merit” that exists in a way that would make it relevant to someone choosing candidates.

            But it remains that anyone ranking candidates for a job is going to have to have some criteria by which to do so (otherwise they might as well pull some random wino off of the street and give him the job – this is how NZF selects candidates, after all), and it logically follows from this that the best person for the job is the person who best satisfies those criteria. This is trivially true. Sometimes we are mistaken about the criteria, and sometimes we suck at applying them, but it’s what we aim for.

            It remains for the proponent of the 50% rule to explain why “being a woman” is a relevant criterion in such a way that it is wrong not to have 50% of members being female. I can think of some areas of politics in which being female would make a person a better candidate for a particular position, and it seems pretty obvious that having not very many female MPs in your party is a bad thing. But neither of those claims entails that precisely half of the caucus should be female.

            To have such a quota would put people in the unenviable position of having to forgo a male politician who would be a better advocate for women than any of the available females if it messed up the quota. It would also mean that we would have to forgo excellent female candidates in the event that all the available men were dullards.

            This whole approach is just silly. It relies on us believing without any real evidence that having an equal share will yield the best outcome. It is no more obvious why this must be so in politics as opposed to any other job – for example, being a bishop. I personally think women ought to be allowed to be bishops, but that doesn’t mean I have to think that half of all bishops should be women. The answer to the question of what proportion of bishops should be women is “what works best in a given situation”, and the same goes for MPs. Imposing a 50% quota may or may not be unjust, but it is quite absurd.

            • Uturn 9.1.1.2.2.1

              “People should be picked on ability”

              or merit. Nice to see you’ve found a handle that speaks openly though. :)

              “It remains for the proponent of the 50% rule to explain why “being a woman” is a relevant criterion in such a way that it is wrong not to have 50% of members being female.”

              In the youtube speech linked to in the original article, the speaker starts to point this out, then in an infuriating – to me – deferral of cultural bumpf, she makes this central and most important point the shortest and quietest, most undeveloped moment of the whole ingratiating dialogue!

              “what works best in a given situation”

              Yes, but you’ve jumped a few stages of organisational development. To get to an understanding of what works best, you can’t just go through the process theoretically. It doesn’t work to just roll up to a subject and say, “Here you go, we’ll open a place inside the existing system, you now have the power, go for it!” without knowing anything abut where the subject is mentally, emotionally, personally and your own influence on the subject. This is the beginning of the “scarey” problem, which, in my opinion, begins with a voluntary withdrawal of certain structures from the dominant influence. It’s scarey becasue we cannot predict how far is too far to withdraw, or how little is too little to begin the process.

              Examine the youtube speech. Look at the behaviours and mannerisms used. Doesn’t that spell out the environment? The completely expected order of information, the phrasing: the speaker is not working inside their own context they’re reflecting the audience. Now you could say that’s a good thing, under existing communication 101 rules, but those rules cannot allow communication of the subject she chose. The questions were not asked, how the speaker could speak in their own way so that the audience could still understand. This is why I commented: I wonder what the orignal draft looked like.

              • Rogue Trooper

                update
                “will she still remember me, will she still remember times like these”
                Over the hills and far away not all that glitters is gold, ah ah city don’t cry, ah ah city don’t moan
                misty mountain hop when the levee breaks down the black mountain side
                your time is gonna come what is and what should never be the prince of peace
                embraced the queen in the evening.they walked the night alone.

                -Black Dog (captain Ahab)

                • Uturn

                  The dogs of doom howl and moan.
                  Fallen heroes, no Valhalla for them;
                  already bleeding when they entered the field.
                  The snow falls hard and don’t you know? The winds of Thor are blowing cold.
                  Wearing steel that’s bright and true, choose the path where no-one goes; carve a trough and fill it with wine; and tell us, the living, what only the dead can know.

                  – Hangman (wait a little while)

        • Saarbo 9.1.1.3

          I sat on an appointments committee a number of years ago for a CEO position, a women was the best applicant. A fellow Board member who happened to be a baby boomer generation made a clear statement that we could NOT appoint a women to the CEO position, I nearly fell of my chair. I didn’t realise that this attitude still exists this century in NZ, but it does. That Board member is a very prominent leader in his community. I think we have more women at universities than men, if we have not got 50/50 mp’s then maybe a problem does exist. I support the quota. There will come a time when we dont need it I’m sure, but we are not quite there yet I think.

          • Populuxe1 9.1.1.3.1

            Did you actually protest his opinion? If not, you’re part of the problem. I’d far rather people agitated for equality rather than have it imposed on no more significant qualification than the arrangement of one’s genitals.

          • Jimmy Page's Sunburst Les Paul 9.1.1.3.2

            That’s weird. I counted up not long ago, and 3/4 of my bosses have been female.

            • McFlock 9.1.1.3.2.1

              Depends on the industry and the organisation, as well as your particular level (i.e. it’s statistically doubtful that your bosses were upper management, but in some areas women get to middle or lower management and then hit the “glass ceiling”).
                         
              FWIW my boss and my entire team (same-level colleagues) bar me are female. Higher level managers seem to be much more diverse than most industries, but still not quite there. But I came here from a team where probably 10-20% of all staff were female, similar ratio in lower management, and 4 male management staff at the top. That was a weakness they actively tried to address, but not very successfully and it takes time with turnover.
                     
              What’s the school system like, teacher gender vs principles, does anyone know? 

      • rosy 9.1.2

        “Meritocracy is a masculine idea. “

        I don’t know where that idea comes from Uturn. Mothers use reward systems for kids so I’m guessing the merit thing has been around since before women started entering the paid workforce in big numbers. I also reckon you won’t find many women who are happy to sit back with lower pay and lower status because they don’t believe in reward for jobs well done.

        I do know that some women who merit promotion can find they do not advance in a work environment because of expectations around job types and structures and masculine social and business networking. This is why mentoring and quotas are seriously discussed, not because women don’t have ‘merit’.

        BM – maybe those middle-aged feminist types ave learned through experience that they might have to work a little harder than the male in the next seat to be seen as a serious contender. And before you say it of course I’m aware this is not a universal experience.

        • Bastables 9.1.2.1

          Meritocracy was coined by Young as the process which the oligarchy would redefine (and in the 50s were in the process of) it self as one based on merit, really through structural inequality.

          The 50s of course being an era of white masculinity.

          The word Meritocracy has through it’s use been co opted as something laughable as opposed to an accusation.

          Note how early forms of meritocracy aka ethos by Aristotle were situated in highly oligarchic societies.

          Athens= free men, women and slaves need not apply.

          • rosy 9.1.2.1.1

            I don’t have any problem with the ideas about the perils of meritocracy. I have a problem with the concept that it’s a masculine idea that women have been co-opted into.

            Maybe the academic work was done that was done from Aristotle to Young (1958) did not consider women (because it was before women were fully engaged in academia and had expectations of professional inclusion and advancement in high paying jobs). That does not mean it’s an idea that women know only through being co-opted. More like the academics who did the theses on meritocracy excluded women from their analyses. Just a thought.

            What is important in the Labour proposal is that a gender balance in choosing candidates will subtly alter what merit the candidates are being selected on.

            • Bastables 9.1.2.1.1.1

              One of the constant refrains against allowing women equality is the use of the language of meritocracy. It’s paradoxical until you realise that the concept of meritocracy is used as a fig leaf for structural inequality.

              You’ll see things like biological determinism trotted out on selecting a male candidate for a role because obviously a women will get preggers and therefore be less inclined to stick with the company. Women are more emotional, women are physically weaker etc etc irrelevant if that case or role is being judged on if Edith performance/competence she’s reduced to her gender (or societies perception of her gender). This becomes structural when for instance in my hated tenure in insurance the office has been hiring and promoting mostly females because the manger is a Women.

              When a Male manager takes over suddenly you start seeing more attractive younger girls get hired and men are suddenly the only ones being promoted, older women who had the institutional memory were slowly turfed out during performance reviews when they’d been doing fine for 10-20 years. The fact that we went from a ethnically diverse office to a pakaeha dominated department with all male team leaders in the space of 2 years was also interesting.

          • Jimmy Page's Sunburst Les Paul 9.1.2.1.2

            As I said above, there’s an obvious difference between some weird, politically motivated hypostatisation of “merit” and the mundane fact that rational selection requires the consistent application of relevant criteria.

            If this were not the case then the fact that I rationally try to find the best plumber available to fix my toilet would make me responsible for creating an “oligarchy” among plumbers.

            The argument against political quotas for females uses the second, mundane sense. To treat it as the former is to trade on an equivocation.

        • Uturn 9.1.2.2

          Rosy, reward for a job well done (higher pay) happens within a capitalist structure that isolates women into convenient work compartments so men can go out and make cash. Rewards systems come closer to a “feminine” interpretation when they are concerned with the support of life, regardless of whether someone deserves it or not.

          • Populuxe1 9.1.2.2.1

            That is incredibly patronising – you’re just replacing one set of stereotypical gender constructs with another.

            • rosy 9.1.2.2.1.1

              +1 I was trying to work out how to say that.

              • Uturn

                To both of you:

                1) Feminine and masculine, when used in the context of culture does not mean every man or woman must act a certain way to be considered a man or woman. We are discussing cultural terms, not individuals. When you come across feminine and masculine words in foreign languages, do you only use the ones that you erroneously atrribute to “men” and “women”? Of course not. So why not find out why these terms are considered masculine or feminine, instead or rushing up to me with your ignorance and saying the problem is mine. Which leads me to,

                2) I don’t give shit about you, personally. I am part sociopath and about as liberal as a sledgehammer. I don’t pursue the ideas of equal division of power to enter a contest to see who can be more progressive. I’m fully aware of my current state of development and it isn’t in the business of collecting poor and oppressed people. My levels of compassion are simply imitations. My goals are to create a world I can live in and to do that I have to push for ideas that would see others sharing more power, because me being top of the heap is not part of the plan. Don’t flatter yourselves, please. It just makes you look stupid. I’ve been over this during the past month and spelt it out. Pay attention, or learn some of the “manners” you think you have by suggesting someone else is “patronising” because you believe everyone wants to be your friend. You aren’t flavour of month in my book and never will be.

                3)You can argue that there is no such thing as culture; that masculine and feminine terms, relating to cognitive functions, dominant and inferior, rational and irrational; compiled by the common links to historical gender roles from cultures all over the globe; organised into energy types, masculine or feminine and associated to the shifting elements of religions; and argue that a woman and a man can be anything they chose to define themselves as. Then go for it. Set out to define the male and the female under the idea that they are no different than a set of physical charateristics without a context and that psychology does not and has never existed. I would be very interested to hear how you do it. And I’m not imitating sarcasm, because it would immediately undermine all the social movements the world has seen to date. That would be a feat of progressive thinking not yet seen here.

                If you were looking for a teacher, you came to the wrong place. Maybe your inherent poor oppressed minority smarts failed you there.

                • rosy

                  Steady on there Uturn. I never said there was no such thing as culture. In fact that’s one of the first things I’d agree on. I simply don’t believe that women have been co-opted into this ‘masculinst’ culture of merit. I feel it’s more likely they were excluded from the analysis. Correct me if you like, but don’t take it personally. Like you, I’m entitled to question the point.

                  • Uturn

                    Then question it for godssake. Put your case. Tell us how, in your view, women find their identity with our current culture? How can it be expressed fully within the current parameters?

                    “I simply don’t believe that women have been co-opted into this ‘masculinst’ culture of merit.”

                    Define your terms so everyone can understand. Are you saying that you, personally, and by extrapolation other women, are not simply the people our culture says they are; that you’re smarter, more independant, and weaker, more sensitive and then of course… something else? That they have a central defining feature that makes them different to men? That if we could create a cultureless vacuum and give both a man and a woman the same object to experience, that each party would approach the object from a different direction, explain it differently and order the information to their inherent way? Or are you implying the value you have as a human cannot be classified in capital terms, but you don’t know which terms could classify it, or can’t articulate it?

                    You’d be in good company, the speaker at the Labour conference implied the same thing and then our current culture got in the way and the limits of logic and language failed her.

                    Lack of articulation is what it is. Choosing not to define your terms, acceptable. Pushing it in someone else’s face and blaming them, well, you roll the dice of consequence. Rosy cheeks or not.

                    I don’t want to metaphorically look up your dress, nor am I demanding you offer to show me who you are. But can you understand that this common stand off between “masculine” and “feminine” expression is, to some persepctives, actively pushing both parties in directions that progress neither parties interests?

                    • karol

                      Uturn, your comments look to me to be disappearing into abstractionism: a kind of resistance to gender change through abstract intellectualism – an old tool of the white masculinist establishment.

                      Yes masculine and feminine are social constructs, but they have a significant impact on people’s lived experience.  As the likes of Elspeth Probyn and Elisabeth Grosz have shown:  you can work through and on such social discourses to bring about real change in people’s lives.

                       
                      For instance, the anti-woman strategies of the NAct government, are impacting severely on the lives of beneficiaries, with women often being their main target.  So it is worth calling them out on their strategies and offering a more gender positive approach – e.g by focusing on the social value of paid and unpaid caring work.

                    • Uturn

                      It’s not abstract at all Karol, in fact the youtube speech you posted is a concrete example. I have a pretty good idea why didn’t you point out her compliance to the white masculinist establishment, but that’s part of the problem too. To discuss issues in this thread, unless you can find a way that can avoid it, the need for some people to hide behind ideology will have to be removed. The catch 22 is that exposing personal issues will only make the job harder.

                      I’m open to your suggestions, but “higher pay” as a gender advancement? Aiming low, and in a contradictory way, isn’t it? Sure, pay women whatever they want, no argument here, but what did it achieve in an “end game” sense? It just isolates women in the same way men isolate themselves. Which is why, up the page a litte, I say, to open a gap in the existing structure to encourage women to more fully imitate men, is not the first step and is in fact self defeating. I do not say we should not do it because it won’t work, thus inadvertently supporting the old system – which is what I think you accused me of – I’m asking why contradictory approaches are being promoted that can only end in something along the lines of seperated equality i.e. no relationship between men and women; women have equality, referenced to the norms of other women in the group, and men live in a seperate world somewhere else.

                      My question is how do we recognise the interdependance of men and women, with a view to refinding the balance that has been lost by sidelining whatever inherent traits women posess. Your argument, if I can risk misunderstanding it, is that women should be allowed to do whatever they want, just like men, using male methods if they please and that is “equality” and will lead to equality between genders.

                      While women are more or less free to do as they please, and have always had that option, our culture defined and influenced the consequences. No argument. Freeing women form the cultural consequences will get you equality of action and consequence. But Equality between genders? That you have to prove. The only way I can see of would be through protracted natural transformation that definiately borders on the abstract. If I had seen any evidence of you believe that, I wouldn’t mention it, but pay rates and acknowledgement of values have nothing to do with those processes and I wonder why you offer that example. You tell me, in your own ideas, not Elpeth’s or McGregor’s, what’s going on.

                    • Uturn

                      If we accept culture exists (even though it is difficult to prove its usefulness)

                      and we accept that humans have built their cultures around observations of human traits and behaviours

                      and those behaviours have either feminine or masculine in energy

                      and the best we can currently do to understand that energy is to use religious or spiritual concepts

                      and we agree that psychology, apart from the use of drugs on purely physiological issues, is a young extension of religion

                      without the comfortable appreciation of the unknowable we find in theology,

                      then we’re somewhat channelled towards the fact that men and women have spheres of influence inherent to their gender.

                      “Spheres of influence” is a phrase for all kinds of objections thanks to its misuse by men who’d like to define those spheres with no interaction with women or other orientations. This is not my intent. Cultures commonly have women responsible for this area or that and men for that area or this. Though open to the distortion of manipulation for convenience, the original idea appeared for good reason.

                      If women are women, not just men in women’s clothes, and they have spheres of influence inherent to them, from our current position men must withdraw from feminine spheres (first of all) and women must withdraw from masculine spheres (gradually) to refind lost balance. Whether this looks like an equal numerical division of tasks at this time in history is anyone’s guess. Does it mean women must rule and men spend their time in other roles? Who knows. Does it mean women must stay home and raise kids? Who knows, it’s unlikely to be either extreme. And what does money have to do with any of it? An interdependent dialogue would have to begin, initiated by the dominant influence.

                      Why the dominant influence? Because if the dominant party does not enter into discussions in good faith, the other party can only ever react to the force; distorting their efforts and risking the inversion of their own traits to form something similar to the traits of the opposing party. The focus is combative and divided and the goals of the exercise contradicted. The world doesn’t need more male-clones tearing the place up. It needs women being women – for whatever ends and in whatever form.

                      This picture hinges on culture actually existing. If someone can prove it doesn’t, I’m all ears.

                      Let’s go back to the Labour Conference speech. A woman gets up to speak to applause. What is the origin of applause? Masculine or feminine spheres of influence? She begins by making drinking jokes. Ingratiating herself to the crowd. Why was she placed in the schedule of speakers to interrupt their drinking? Who made that decision, a man or a woman? What is the origin of elevating the value of alcohol and drinking oneself into drunkenness? Masculine or feminine spheres? Why is she standing in front of the crowd? Is that a masculine or feminine approach? Why is she not at the centre of a ring? She makes submissive references to her husband, announcing her weakness, though no apparent vocal weakness is ever present during the speech. Why the husband? What does he represent? What does he have to do with a speech on women’s issues? She then asserts her hierarchal authority within a patriarchy; reaffirms her identity as a woman and … did she really? Did she really throw homos under the feminine bus with that joke about Annette King’s Miramar candidacy? She was on a real masculine roll, for sure. It’s ok though, they’re Labour. They’re highly attuned to these things and will change them immediately.

                      Then the order of information. Status, facts, science, stats, numbers, comparison to what is and what isn’t. A man could have delivered that, they know about that stuff. What did it specifically have to do with women? Then the good bit: “I went undercover as a caregiver… I saw how nurses worked with the elderly, the sick … I saw how they were with them…” I couldn’t believe my ears. She was about to say it. Could it be true? Was she about to embark on revealing the nature of one feminine sphere of influence in her culture? No. It was just the cultural twitch of a women operating in a male environment: make your strongest point the quietest and shortest and don’t finish it. All she was saying was that she couldn’t speak her truth in that environment. What was that a consequence of? The attitudes of men. Even if she could have been treated as one of the boys, she wouldn’t have said her piece. Her inherent nature would have been distorted. What good is equality of action?

                      What good is fighting for equality of action, equality of consequence and outcome if we aren’t doing the foundational stuff first and making sure women can speak freely in their own way. If they aren’t speaking freely, if they do not know that men understand why they must speak freely, they aren’t saying what needs to be said. The dialogue would go in the wrong direction. Under the rule of culture, equality between genders, the missing balance, is a dialogue of new (or rediscovered) behaviours.

                • Populuxe1

                  Wow Uturn, that was a spectacular rant and I hope you feel better having expelled that particular bitter flatus. To be clear, I don’t want you as a teacher because you exhibit none of the useful characteristics of a teacher- what with you obviously being a sociopath, as you say, with narcissistic personality disorders and a massively inflated (and inaccurate) sense of your own intellectual abilities.

                  And no, I don’t think everybody wants to be my friend – I called your outlook patronising because it was – end. of. story. To imply that human beings can be expected to act in certain ways beyond the level of behaviorism or as other than individuals is patronising. To suggest women are more nurturing than men, or are less ruthless, and that anything negative they do is a direct result of Patriarchy, is also patronising, as well as reductive, and more than a bit pompous.

                  • Uturn

                    Thank the sweet lord you finally get it.

                    • Rogue Trooper

                      great deconstruction Uturn; those bricks left over could be used to build something
                      (the Kingdom? just teasing)
                      excellent writing in my humble opinion

                      any way,
                      for the non-developmental psychologists among us, intuitive learning (popularised by Myers Briggs) was confirmed to me by the Learned diocesan theologian, PhD, blah blah blah, when I asked him about the researched efficacy of well articulated concepts that an intuitive (imaginative) learner might expand upon, which is what I do, he said that Yes learning demonstrated.

                      abstraction-blue-sky research-higgs boson. Duh!

        • BM 9.1.2.3

          BM – maybe those middle-aged feminist types ave learned through experience that they might have to work a little harder than the male in the next seat to be seen as a serious contender. And before you say it of course I’m aware this is not a universal experience.

          Not any more, those days are long gone.
          There’s absolutely no allowance made for Women these days,every one is equal.
          Women consider themselves the equal of Men, they don’t expect or want to be treated differently.

          Just a quick example.
          I was contracting to a landscaping crew, on the staff were males and females, the females were expected to be able to physically do what the men could do.
          No guys would help out the women,as they said to me “if you expect the same pay, you do the same work”.
          A lot of the old guys were horrified to see these poor women busting their arses lifting heavy bags of soil and plants and none of the young guys helping out.
          Totally different mindset these days, it’s brutal.

          • rosy 9.1.2.3.1

            reminds me of when I worked in a warehouse – a man’s job – when the guys would stand around and watch me lift and pack large items because I had to perform as well as they did. But then they would help each other out with the exact same stuff because they were mates.

            • Colonial Viper 9.1.2.3.1.1

              I’ve found that even holding a door open for a woman or attempting to carry her luggage, etc can be an extremely unrewarding and in fact punishing experience.

              At least when you help a mate out and they say “hey don’t you think I can do this by myself” you can respond “shut up Jack and lift on three”.

              • rosy

                I hold doors open for everyone. It’s an equal opportunity sort of thing, and just the polite thing to do. Some people are just rude if they don’t appreciate it.

                • Populuxe1

                  It’s just polite to open doors for other people, especially if they might be elderly or have their hands full. When did basic manners get superseded by political correctness? 

    • karol 9.2

      Uturn makes good points about the current system not being a gender-neutral meritocracy, so the best candidates aren’t always selected.

      But the Labour Party are proposing a 50/50 gender balance on candidate selection panels.  That is the people who choose candidates for elections.  The actual selection of candidates will be on merit only.

      • Colonial Viper 9.2.1

        The actual selection of candidates will be on merit only.

        This is SUPPOSED to happen now, and look what we have ended up with. So I think that issues of candidate selection in the NZLP have far deeper problems and a very long way to go.

        • karol 9.2.1.1

          CV, this may relate to the pre-selection processes that McGregor proposed: i.e. it seems there are many ways potential candidates are pre-selected by existing MPs and/or LECs.  So the people that get included in formal candidate selection processes, have already been through some informal, cronyist pre-selection processes.

          McGregor’s idea was for women to be proactive, and do something similar – but biased in a more female-friendly direction.  As well as MPs selecting promising non-MP women to mentor, she talked about “shoulder tapping” promising women from “inside and outside”.  I guess this is like some Standardistas’ suggestion that the LP should get Helen Kelly to stand for parliament.

          • Colonial Viper 9.2.1.1.1

            But what if the issue is that there has been way too much ‘shoulder tapping’ of future MP’s? (Like you suggest, via crony pre-selection processes). We could bias that shoulder tapping to be more female friendly sure, but apart from that I am not certain what would change from the form of shoulder tapping we currently have.

            Those in the establishment want to shoulder tap “yes men” and “yes women” in order to conserve their own rule and power base.

            Ironic isn’t it.

            • karol 9.2.1.1.1.1

              I agree, CV.  It’s all part of the McGregor approach to work within the current system and accommodate to it, rather than change the underlying processes and culture.

        • NickS 9.2.1.2

          Meh, it’s the same old human problem – your chances are determined more by who you know and your relationship to them, rather than by ability alone. It’s a shitty way choose people for any position of responsibility, no matter the area.

    • Tracey 9.3

      Now you speak for the majority of women? How do you find time to work interacting with over 1.5 million people per day? If you mean the women you know, then say that BM.

      Some folks might want to read some of the work of a very intelligent right winger from about 25 years ago on these very issues. One Marilyn Waring. She was WAY ahead of her time on many such issues.

      BM, you wrote later

      “Having discussed this with numerous woman, they really fire about been given a free ride because of their gender, most women want to earn their position.”

      Could you give examples of the numerous situations the women you spoke to were in, that is, being given a position (free ride) because of their gender?

      In over 40 years on the planet, I haven’t actually met a single woman who has been “given” a job due to a quota. I have, however, met numerous who have been passed over despite their experience and knowledge (qualifications) exceeding that of the man appointed to the position. I agree positions should be earned on merit which is precisely why we need quotas. Do you also dispute the pay gaps in the same job and same experience scenario between men and women ( real not imagined) exist?

      You and I agree wholeheartedly on this;

      “How can having people picked on merit and talent be considered a bad thing.”

      It’s just that your life experience suggests/believe it is happening now, I know it is not.

    • Vicky32 9.4

      A quota system would cast doubt on the abilities of all female MPs

      Agreed!

  10. Ennui in Requiem 10

    This whole post is along similar lines to that decided me to become deceased: must my eternity become so haunted? My spirit world is being invaded by masses of deceased primary school starvelings and suicidal teachers who have not been paid. They all say it was great to be invited to their aunties same sex marriage ceremony but that they expired en route to the banquet. And we are all equal down here in Purgatory, the devils who prod and burn us are all deceased corporate execs and lawyers….a goodly number were females in life…might tell you something. Is it the “human condition”?

    • lprent 10.1

      Good to hear from the dead. But I have to ask you – why is your comment so rotten? Mislaid your fingers?

      • Ennui in Requiem 10.1.1

        Well, the usual excuses…its too hot and dark down here, but hey you don’t get into here for nix…original sin they say. Idle hands means trouble, so they remove your fingers and hang the key around your neck when you get down here. It is purgatory’s version of Labour’s democratic remit.

        I promise to come back nicer, my next incarnation will be as a botanic fertility goddess.

        • lprent 10.1.1.1

          A flatworm?
          Essential I know – but surely you can borrow some ambition from somewhere?
          :twisted:

          • Ennui in Requiem 10.1.1.1.1

            Thanks for the thought 1prent, Fungus the Bogeyman sees all rot and decay as a true marvel: a flatworm would be the height of his ambition. Mayhaps the rot in Labour might be flatwormed into excellence. A worthy ambition.

  11. Dr Terry 11

    Some contributors might be interested to note that in antiquated old England, the Church of England synod has voted down the election of women as bishops. I think even New Zealand is more progressive than that! (And people talk of England as “the Mother country” if you please!).

    • Tracey 11.1

      It’s ok Terry, because those women didn’t deserve to be bishops on merit, this is just a different way of expressing that, right BM?

    • Vicky32 11.2

      (And people talk of England as “the Mother country” if you please!).

      What people would that be then? The ones who told my sisters and me to ‘git back to Pongolia’ when we were 7 and 5 years old?
      I’ve never heard any New Zealander say that, not even my mother’s generation (she’d be 93 if she was alive.)

  12. Bill 12

    Can’t see an easy answer.

    Positive discrimination (hopeless term) or quotas or whatever, won’t really ever address the underlying contributory factors, which are many, and which all appear to hang off the central concept and reality of hierarchy.

    I don’t think it matters what facet of human affairs is considered in this respect; if hierarchical structures are present, then a dominant focus for people is to occupy the higher echelons of the structure in order to attain or enjoy greater privileges.

    And there are always multiple cultural or other barriers placed in the way of certain sections of humanity in all instances where heirarchy exists and certain common behavioural traits encouraged because of it while others are neutralised or disadvantageous.

    And it’s perhaps that latter point that’s the most pernicious. It ensures that any attempt to introduce concepts of fairness or equality will fail – they fail because they are inimical to the underlying premis of the environment they seek to reform.

    Dogshit and sugar comes to mind. If you don’t clear away the dogshit, the sugar’s never going to taste sweet – the dogshit will always come through and dominate.

    • Tracey 12.1

      I disagree. Quotas put more diversity into a situation than currently exists. It gives folks a chance to learn/understand that certain people are not inferior simply because of colour, geneder etc. There was a time when a woman in a workplace was a novelty, still is on Boards and as CEO(smile). Without the presence of the excluded people can freely perpetuate and rationalise/justify their position of those folks not being advance due to their inferiority (or put in another way “lack of merit”).

      This is a slightly off topic example BUT prior to NZ music quotas under 7% (I think) of overall air play was given to NZ music. The argument was the music wasn’t good enough. However under the quota they found “good enough ” music and even searched wider for “good enough” music. The NZ music industry (certainly in terms of production of music by musicians appears to now be flourishing by comparison.

      It’s as much about sending a message to our community as it is about “giving” a job to a particular race/gender.

      Change takes time but it takes forever if no change is permitted because it’s too hard..

      I was in an office of a friend. Head of a law firm. She had been trying for two weeks to get an extension to a mortgage from her bank manager. Daily phone calls, and discussions. Finally she and her husband got pissed off, so when the Manager called she directed him to her husband. He called back 30 minutes later (no exaggeration) and said they got it.

      Before anyone suggests the other reasons, they are both litigators, both articulate and in her case far more property and money savvie than her husband.

      • karol 12.1.1

        A look around at articles on quotas shows that there are pros and cons for them. Success depends on how and when they are done. They can have positive and negative consequences.  Also, even when rules state quotas should be used, they are not always followed in practice.  There can also be unintended consequences.

        To be really successful they need to be done in association with active, grassroots participation in politics by women. i.e. 

        The use of quotas is increasingly influenced by international recommendations and from cross-country inspiration. It seems important, however, that quotas are not just imposed from above, but rest on grass root mobilization of women and the active participation of women’s organizations. Quotas in themselves do not remove all the other barriers for women’s full citizenship. But under certain conditions electoral gender quotas can lead to historical leaps in women’s political representation.  

        So before implementation, there should be research done on how best to implement them, and when.

        • Bill 12.1.1.1

          This isn’t intended as a samrt arse comment btw. But isn’t the recognition that grassroots mobilisation the key also a tacit admission as to the inadequacy and failings of heirarchy and, perhaps more importantly, fly directly in the face of the momentum and reasoning of heirarchical structures?

          If the grassroots can organise for the above sceanrio, then the grassroots can organise. Why then should we organise in order to disempower ourselves? You see where I’m coming from?

          If you do, then would the next step not be to develop parallel institutions that would, sure, be less powerful in the short or even medium term in relation to those that already exist, but more empowering on an individual level than is currently possible?

          • karol 12.1.1.1.1

            Bill as with your shit/sugar metaphor, you seem to be arguing for clearly differentiated and static states: either hierarchy or grassroots.

            In fact, I tend to see them in dynamic play.  Even with the best of participatory democracy, hierarchies or power differences usually form.  This is especially so in our highly populated and complex societies where a certain degree of organisation and structure are required.

            In politics, I would like to see a system that positively includes ordinary people from diverse backgrounds and experiences: one where they are always able to interact with the organisers, and to constantly challenge their assumptions and tendency to acquire and misuse power. 

            In any case, we are a long way from a non-hierarchical society, and if we wait til we get a better, or perfect system, nothing will be done.

            So, I am glad the membership of the Labour Party are working on democratic processes, and ways to end gender inequalities.  And I do think trying to get more ordinary people to participate in these struggles is a good way to go. 

            • Bill 12.1.1.1.1.1

              Hi Karol. I think that modes of organisation that embody structures that level decision making processes is ‘grassroots’ – or democratic.

              And that simply cannot exist within organisational stuctures that embody heirarchy. Heirarchy is the ‘right’ to have others follow your orders/decisions etc and the ‘right’ of others to have you follow their orders/decisions etc.

              So, yes. Democracy and heirarchy are incompatable. That’s not to say that heirarchies cannot be made less undemocratic. Just that they can never be democratic.

              As for power differencials forming in democratic situations, well of course they do. But they are dynamic and based on transient need – ie short lived and lacking in medium or long term systemic justification. (We want to build something and you have the required knowledge? Then your knowledge is likely to be deferred to, but that is done without assigning you an on going dominant position that attracts ever more power and influence)

              Meanwhile. In our culture, permeated as it is, by the notion that heirarchy is somehow natural or normal or more efficacious, any reform that tries to introduce a sense of equality is to be welcomed. But I think it has to be recognised that the fundamental dynamics of dominance will reassert themselves in some form or another, by and by. So if there is reform I welcome it. But I also say “And?..” Because I believe that reform, no matter how comprehensive that reform is, will never truly address the fundamental issue – that resides in and is reinforced by the very nature of the organisational structure we employ. And that habit of structure has to be faced up to and, hopefully one day, abandoned.

        • Tracey 12.1.1.2

          My experience is that the situation is usually quotas or the status quo. I’ll take quotas over the status quo anytime.

      • Bill 12.1.2

        Edit. Is it just me or did this not nest properly? Anyway. In response to Tracey.

        I agree that more diversity is injected into situations. But I’d argue that the powerful undercurrents or cultural norms of heirarchy act to undermine the substance of that diversity and leaves, essentailly a facade. Anyone, no matter their personal values or whatever, has to adopt the implicit (and I’d argue very undesirable) cultural traits of heirarchical structures to survive or progress within that particular environment.

        Edit no. 2 Does that maybe tie in with the study you mention in your comment further down the thread?

        • Tracey 12.1.2.1

          Yes, I think it does. Quotas are only a part of the process of change. I am not advocating quotas in isolation, but they are a very useful educative tool. It helps people to be able to say “some of my best friends are”, which is a person’s way of saying they now have contact and dialogue with a member of society they have hitherto been largely unassociated. That’s what makes changes, personal realisation through personal experience. In my experience.

          Despite what some white middle class men believe, they are not prejudiced, they are not put down or upon. There was a study which I have tried to find but can’t which looked at hiring practices. The assumption was that like hire like. It seems a natural enough predisposition to me, we hire those who are similar to us.

          The study showed the propensity to hire “like me” was highest amongst

          white men; followed by
          black men; followed by
          women

          What this suggests it that while we are all tended toward hiring “like us” white men are significantly more likely to do it. I believe it is partly because they experience little of no discrimination and so operate as though it doesn’t exist, it doesn’t occur tot hem, whereas blacks and women understand discrimination from a more personal perspective and are perhaps slightly more able to look beyond preference to merit?

        • Rogue Trooper 12.1.2.2

          argue undesirability across range of environments

  13. Member41 13

    Great post. Would be excellent to have these ideas discussed more directly at Conference and within the LP. I think a robust inquiry into how we de-partriarchy our Party is an essential step. We had a working party in the sector I am involved in that came up with some good ideas that seemed to have paid off in the short-term (not nearly enough of course, but a small step).

    Kind of ruined it for me with the snarky and ludicrous comment about the leadership “dealing to” the LP members pushing for democratic change. FFS. The leadership and everyone else backed the democratic change. The ONE issue was about the 40% threshold and none of the membership that backed that have been “dealt to”. In fact it has been accepted as the way things are now.

    People. Need. To. Get. A. Hold. Of. Themselves.

    • karol 13.1

      Thanks, Member41. Hopefully the Labour Party does continue to discuss and work on their gender policies.

      I call things as I see them, and don’t support attempts to stifle dissent, however it’s done. 

  14. QoT 14

    When you’ve got sitting MPs basically saying “I can’t be an MP and have kids” you know there’s still some ridiculous gender issues going on in NZ.

    • BM 14.1

      Could just mean a MPs job is so full on that your kids suffer and miss out.

      • karol 14.1.1

        And yet, BM.  I haven’t heard a male MP say that having kids will prevent them being an MP….?

        • QoT 14.1.1.1

          Bill English has had no problem having six, for a start, and his wife is also in paid work.

          • BM 14.1.1.1.1

            Just trying to point out not everything is a gender issue,
            Jacinda may feel that being a Mother is a full time job on it’s own and would prefer to be at home then place her children in child care.

            • Tracey 14.1.1.1.1.1

              You’re right, not everything is a gender issue but that doesn’t mean a gender issue is part of something.

            • QoT 14.1.1.1.1.2

              Except she didn’t say “I personally would not want to do this job while raising kids”, she said

              “I’m probably just not in a very good job for it right now,” she says. “I have a fantastic job, it has its hard moments but I certainly can’t complain about my lot.”

              … with the obvious implication that being an MP “isn’t a very good job” for having children in.

  15. George D 15

    How do you suggest the Greens counteract media tendencies to portray Norman as the ‘real’ leader of a genuinely two-leadered party?

    This, along with misogynist comments against Metiria Turei as a fake or weak leader are really starting to piss me off.

    • Populuxe1 15.1

      Probably because we never see her.

      • Tracey 15.1.1

        Perhaps the media have decided the man is the go to person, not the woman?

        • Populuxe1 15.1.1.1

          People have really exaggerated ideas about the media’s authority. It’s up to the party to get her out to front things – the media is by self-preference a relatively passive and lazy beast.

    • karol 15.2

      How do you suggest the Greens counteract media tendencies to portray Norman as the ‘real’ leader of a genuinely two-leadered party?

      That’s a very good question, George D, and I will ponder on it. Part of the answer may be up thread, where it’s said that Turei has a much higher profile on Maori TV and Native Affairs.  This relates to a post I have in mind (lots of references and notes – maybe more than one post), on the media and politics.   The representation of Turei is in keeping with the differences between commercial and public service TV.

      I’ll try to put together such a post next week.  But, other than changing our media, I’m not sure what steps the Greens can take to counter the government and MSM elevation of Russel Norman to de facto leader. 

      • Tracey 15.2.1

        You could do worse than add a few quotes from Hager’s BJ speech.

      • Colonial Viper 15.2.2

        I’m not sure what steps the Greens can take to counter the government and MSM elevation of Russel Norman to de facto leader.

        Its got the hallmarks of a Green Party decision to me – i.e. this is the way they have decided that they want it for the moment.

        • Populuxe1 15.2.2.1

          Exactly. The media default is basically reprinting press releases, so more than likely it’s the party’s directive.

  16. Tracey 16

    “…The only way to do that would be by a randomized controlled experiment. This means creating a situation where all variables other than the one of interest are held equal, so that differences in outcome can indeed be attributed to the one factor that differs. If it’s gender bias we are interested in, that would mean comparing reactions toward two identical human beings – identical in intelligence, competence, lifestyle, goals, etc. – with the one difference between them that one is a man and one is a woman. Not exactly a situation that exists in the real world.

    But in a groundbreaking study published in PNAS last week by Corinne Moss-Racusin and colleagues, that is exactly what was done. On Wednesday, Sean Carroll blogged about and brought to light the research from Yale that had scientists presented with application materials from a student applying for a lab manager position and who intended to go on to graduate school. Half the scientists were given the application with a male name attached, and half were given the exact same application with a female name attached. Results found that the “female” applicants were rated significantly lower than the “males” in competence, hireability, and whether the scientist would be willing to mentor the student…

    The scientists also offered lower starting salaries to the “female” applicants: $26,507.94 compared to $30,238.10…”

    http://blogs.scientificamerican.com/unofficial-prognosis/2012/09/23/study-shows-gender-bias-in-science-is-real-heres-why-it-matters/

  17. Tracey 17

    The point of the above study is that women are discriminated against but contrary to the belief of some it is not (mostly) intentional and is about, amongst other things, lack of awareness and understanding to run counter to societal influences/stereotypes.

    People can’t know what they don’t know. Many men do not know they are being sexist because it is not their intention. No malice no conscious decision to exclude women they genuinely believe they are doing it on sound reasoning.

    So, quotas assist by putting women (on merit) into a workplace in a hithertto “un-womaned” position. People see she is competent, achieving outcomes etc and they learn. This is how behaviour changes. Quotas are a form of education.

    BM genuinely believes (I assume) that women are not discriminated against when going for positions in the workforce, or he doesnt believes quotas are the tool to change that. I doubt he asserts that with malice. But he is wrong. If he has another way to help change the situation I am all ears.

    As the article above states

    “Both male and female scientists were equally guilty of committing the gender bias. Yes – women can behave in ways that are sexist, too. Women need to examine their attitudes and actions toward women just as much as men do. What this suggests is that the biases likely did not arise from overt misogyny but were rather a manifestation of subtler prejudices internalized from societal stereotypes. As the authors put it,

    “If faculty express gender biases, we are not suggesting that these biases are intentional or stem from a conscious desire to impede the progress of women in science. Past studies indicate that people’s behavior is shaped by implicit or unintended biases, stemming from repeated exposure to pervasive cultural stereotypes that portray women as less competent…””

    • karol 17.1

      Tracey, that sounds like an interesting article, but it’s not clear where it is – you say “above”, but it’s not immediately above your  comment, so I don’t know where to look.
      Thanks. 

  18. Tracey 18

    it’s in moderation.

  19. PlanetOrphan 19

    “MeritOcracy”

    Odd word, women in general are more civilised than men, which means they’ll take that first hit on the chin usually.

    Some men in power will try and twist that civilised nature and call it less worthy.

    Not justified or fair, only self serving and opportunistic in my opinion.

    Men on the other hand tend to stress themselves into heart attacks because they are alone at the top.

    Where’s the “Merit” in that ? , how can they justify that as being more reliable in a given Job ?

    Great article Karol, wish I could add a positive suggestion but my cardiac “thought” stimulator is in the shop being repaired at the mo :-)

    • kiwi_prometheus 19.1

      “women in general are more civilised than men”

      You pathetic, self loathing, sexist mangina.

      • PlanetOrphan 19.1.1

        Thanks babe , wanna date?

      • karol 19.1.2

        K_P, i’m looking for you to produce an argument of substance, rather than just abusing commenters.

        • kiwi_prometheus 19.1.2.1

          “women in general are more civilised than men”

          ^ that comment is ok by you is it Karol?

          How about “whites in general are more civilised than blacks”?

          Gender bigotry against men is fine by feminists like you – yet you still cant fathom why the Left cant get any political traction in the middle of a right wing created train wreck.

          • karol 19.1.2.1.1

            Actually, k_p, I don’t agree with the statement “women are more civilised than men”.  I also tend to not use statements that imply or state that “all women are….” or “all men are…”.

            But for an argument of substance, take a look at redbaron’s comment further down the thread @9.58pm.  A lot of good points about things that are in need of changing.

    • Populuxe1 19.2

      Erzabeth Bathory
      Elizabeth I
      Mary I
      Myra Hindley
      Beverly Allitt 
      Belle Gunness
      Mary Ann Cotton 
      Ilse Koch
      Irma Grese
      Katherine Knight
      Gertrude Baniszewski 
      Marybeth Tinning
       

  20. kiwi_prometheus 20

    “It is the underlying macho, game-playing culture of political engagement that needs changing”

    To what? The catty, back biting, manipulative, bullying by proxy tactics of those who practice the “feminine arts”?

    What a load of sexist man hating nonsense.

    Bankrupt pseudo intellectual Feminist ‘theory’ peddled by Left Academic sorts like Karol et al can be deconstructed to “Girls are made of sugar and spice and all things nice! Boys are made of frogs and snails and puppy dog tails!”.

    • karol 20.1

      Hi K_p, I was wondering when you were going to show up.  Put your feet up, chill, take off your bonnet – let that bee have a little air.

      Do you have an argument beyond name calling? 

      • QoT 20.1.1

        I love how k_p’s argument is basically “evil feminists believe in gender essentialism”.

        • lprent 20.1.1.1

          He is noted for his gender problems…

          • kiwi_prometheus 20.1.1.1.1

            Its feminist like QoT and Felix who have a gender chip on their shoulder.

            • QoT 20.1.1.1.1.1

              *can’t tell if lack of plural is meant to be clever sockpuppet accusation or just typo induced by desperate need to post as many “cutting” comments as possible before it’s someone else’s turn on the internet*

        • kiwi_prometheus 20.1.1.2

          I love how QoT argument is basically “men are to blame for everything”.

          • QoT 20.1.1.2.1

            Oh, cuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuute. See, the problem with your comeback is that I was directly commenting on one of your tragic little “arguments”. So people can judge for themselves whether I’m accurately reflecting your “point”.

            You, on the other hand, are trying a good ol’ turnabout-is-fair-play with nothing to back it up. I understand that despite many attempts, you still don’t get why this isn’t a savage crippling blow against your opponents, and that’s just sad, pumpkin.

      • Populuxe1 20.1.2

        How about: blaming the Patriarchy when women behave badly or attributing a natural predisposition for goodness/nurturing/whatever might possibly be denying women an existence as beings capable of independent moral decisions.

  21. tracey 21

    Did my posting of a factual study kill the thread?

    • karol 21.1

      Not for me, tracey.  It was a useful piece of research about gender biases, even amongst those who consider they make judgements based on evidence and reason.  And it shows how cultural assumptions are embedded in our thinking.
       
      I’ve just been out and about attending to some other business for a few hours.

  22. karol 22

    Uturn @12.20pm and 4.42pm (run out of reply buttons.
     
    We may be arguing at cross-purposes, and actually saying something similar. You do tend to use a lot of words to make points that could be made more clearly with less words.  And in the process, your main point can get lost, or at least clouded.
    Uturn: I have a pretty good idea why didn’t you point out her compliance to the white masculinist establishment, but that’s part of the problem too.

    Actually, I did here, pretty much, excluding any explicit mention on my part of “white”: 

    It also demonstrated the same shortcomings that I see throughout the conference: a strong focus on employment and change within the existing framework.

     here:

    This is great as far as it goes, but it fails to deal with the underlying framework that restricts women. Parliamentary politics is still carried out within a masculine framework.  Women in positions of power have to represent themselves as being tough, but not so masculine as to upset conventional gender expectations.

    and here:

    In focusing on the pay gap, McGregor focused on the paid workforce.  While this is in crucial need of attention, she also neglected the underlying framework, in which women are still preferred in caring roles, paid and unpaid, and which are given low status by society. 

    here:

    It is the underlying macho, game-playing culture of political engagement that needs changing, along with the more obvious need for gender equality.  The changes required include the need for more democratic processes of political engagement, genuine communication and negotiations.  This should be linked with the need for wider cultural change, in which paid and unpaid caring work is given far more status.

    UTurn: I’m open to your suggestions, but “higher pay” as a gender advancement? Aiming low, and in a contradictory way, isn’t it? Sure, pay women whatever they want, no argument here, but what did it achieve in an “end game” sense? It just isolates women in the same way men isolate themselves.

    When women are struggling on subsistence pay in a shrinking economy, raising it to a level equal to others doing similar work is to be welcomed.  Do something urgently needed now, may just be a band-aid, but it will take longer to achieve a much wider and deeper cultural change – meanwhile, people on low incomes are suffering.

    Your argument, if I can risk misunderstanding it, is that women should be allowed to do whatever they want, just like men, using male methods if they please and that is “equality” and will lead to equality between genders.

    No, that is not my argument at all. You HAVE misunderstood my post.  I never said anything about acting like men in a man’s world.  And I have argued for revaluing of areas of activity conventionally seen as “feminine”, while also being critical of convdentionally “masculine” frameworks.

     
    Beyond this, I’m not exactly clear why you are taking issue at such length.

    • just saying 22.1

      Uturn,
      I feel you sometimes use this forum to promote some pretty dodgy (to me) ideas in a covert way, by burying them in a mountain of words that assume some (again to me) dodgy concepts from the realms of pop-psychology and religion. Obviously you are as free as anyone to believe what you wish but your manner of expression pisses me off when you aren’t upfront. This is a discussion forum not a lectern, and I wonder why you aren’t prepared to have the courage of your, obviously deeply held, convictons.

  23. RedBaron 23

    Any more towards leveling the field is good. I was disappointed though about the emphasis on paid work.
    The role that divorce and child care play in impoverishing women didn’t get a look in. Study after study shows that seperation and consequent child care sends women to the bottom of the GINI scale no matter where she was before but males drop only about one sector.
    By way of example over the last 20 years there have been the following decisions:

    – roughly equal incomes he paid $80 per month she paid all the rest of the children’s costs and looked after them.

    – no sharing of de facto property regrdless of who had contributed to it – went to him if he had his name on it. Much of this in any other situation would have had somebody done for fraud. Hard fought court case meant sharing, laws promptly changed to reinstate a lot of the previous status quo . ” seperate property”

    – Assets and income being tied up in trusts. Again, some huge fights have realised some assets for sharing but income for the children – no way.

    -“Family scheme income” introduced to stop the wroughting of student allowances and WFF. Not put into child support calculations so they are much lower.. Further attempts to minimise male support of their children now before parliament and Labour are voting for it!

    Failure to factor socio economic costs into just about any/every policy. This covers just about everything from domestic violence to the canterbury earthquakes. Where there is social disruption there are measurable economic costs. These seem to be borne disproportionately by those at the bottom of the heap. Women, children, elderly, low waged…..

    I could go on..

    .

  24. Rogue Trooper 24

    Jesus wept. Mary and Martha.
    feet of clay after thinker.
    unable to quench the elan vitae

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